FA6013 - Critical Research Project

What will I learn on this module?

The module gives you the opportunity to identify, investigate and plan a self-determined, critical research project, culminating in a 5000-word written report.

With consideration of the key issues that will inform and shape the fashion industry in years to come, you will identify and propose a challenging Fashion Communication research project that is a mature, realistic response to the contemporary design world. You will demonstrate a contextual understanding of personal practice in relation to broader cultural socio-economic and political contexts.

Establishing a relevant field and question that relates to the wider fashion industry, you will undertake in-depth research using primary and secondary methodologies to inform a written research report that evidences your critical and cultural subject awareness. You will display evidence of critical thinking in the development of arguments, analysis and debate, expressed through oral and written communication.

Your research topic may reflect your career goals and ambitions, and will be agreed through regular supervision, formative critiques and presentations, personal project plans and peer discussions.

How will I learn on this module?

Learning and teaching strategies on Fashion Communication encourage you to acquire a flexible and imaginative approach to problem solving through enquiry-based learning. You will become an active participant in your learning, integrating creative practice with academic and intellectual skills.

The extended studio (X-Studio) environment is integral to this process, encouraging individual intellectual freedom and a creative collaborative community. The X-Studio embraces our physical studios and making workshops as well as our virtual spaces to create a flexible and rich environment that is responsive to your learning needs.

This approach has been developed over many years of continuous teaching innovation, research and industry collaboration. It has created a supportive extended studio culture that encourages you to learn flexibly, dynamically blending your learning and University experience between physical and digital interactions both in real-time and online at your own pace.

This extended studio culture not only helps you to become a more confident autonomous learner but also prepares you for a dynamic design industry in which an extended studio philosophy is current practice.

Lecturers with industry experience and supporting research will guide you through the module, developing your understanding of professional standards and practice. You are encouraged to advance your visual literacy and to be aware of current issues and debates. Working in groups, you learn to be flexible and collaborative, to identify and redefine problems in a creative way and focus on solutions that are both relevant and empathetic.

Traditional, new and emerging technologies are used both in the delivery and realisation of outcomes, and you will learn to present your work and ideas using a range of media and communication tools to a variety of audiences in different situations.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

• You will be supported through your research project by a Mentor who will advise on research methods and the development of your project
• Project briefs are introduced via briefing sessions, where the task is fully explored by both staff and students
• Students experience a range of teaching, learning and assessment methods and course work is largely project based
• Modules are delivered through a combination of delivery modes, with guided and independent learning
• Additional study skills materials and workshops are available through Skills Plus at https://library.northumbria.ac.uk/skillsplus/ and Linkedin Learning
• Students are expected to maintain a project plan and are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning
• English language support is provided for international students
• Student Central provide specialist support with personal issues including; DSSR (Disabled Student Support Recommendations) statements; PECs (Personal Extenuating Circumstances) and LAs (Late Approved submission) processes
• University student services offer specialist support e.g. financial, disability, mental health, international student support etc
• eLP includes all relevant documentation and learning material, e.g. module briefs, lecture content, video demonstrations, reading lists and weekly tasks, together with meeting spaces, discussion boards and notices
• Visiting professionals support relevant and current practice where possible

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. Analyse your findings from your research material and apply critical analysis to the development of arguments, analysis and debate

2. Demonstrate your engagement with forms of analysis, argument and debate, expressed through an appropriate command of oral, written and other forms of communication.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Intellectually engage with a range of appropriate research materials, techniques and analytical tools to enable the undertaking of an original and relevant research project

Personal Values Attributes
4. Show an understanding of professional and responsible design in the context of your practice as evidenced through project planning

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment:

5000 word written research report (with supporting appendix) (1, 2, 3, 4) 100%





Module abstract

In this module you will identify, investigate and plan a self-determined critical research project on a topic of your own choice.

Your project may focus either specifically on the close analysis of garments, accessories or fashion brands and / or explore an issue of fashion communication. Alternatively, you may wish to examine an issue, debate or campaign tied to the contemporary fashion industry or the creative sector. Once your project focus is agreed, you will be allocated a specialist project mentor who will support you in your research journey.

You will participate in 1-2-1 and small group supervision tutorials, formative critiques, workshops, briefings, personal project plans and peer group discussions. You will read, research and reflect on the information you gather from primary and secondary sources. Sessions on research methods, interviewing, ethics and project structure will help you to develop your research and writing skills.

Your research will culminate in a 5000-word report showing a rich understanding of your subject, contemporary cultural awareness, critical analysis and sophisticated ability to discuss and communicate your findings.

Course info

UCAS Code WP29

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Northumbria School of Design

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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